Category Archives: Division

‘Handicapism is a mental disease of the able-bodied …and it affects us all…’

So reads a pin badge found in the collection of Keith Armstrong at the Bodleian Libraries Special Collections. The Bodleian holds just one box of Armstrong’s collection (the rest are held by the Bishopsgate Institute in London), but within it we can find evidence of Armstrong’s multifaceted life. Born in South Africa in 1950, Armstrong was an activist and public campaigner for disability rights. At six months old, he contracted polio, confining him to a wheelchair for most of his life. He spent much of his childhood in Oxford, attending Ormerod School, a school for children with physical disabilities. In his adulthood, he helped found the Liberation Network of People with Disabilities, and at different intervals, he was a member of the London Transport Passenger Committee and the committee of Camden Dial-a-Ride.

His collection at the Bodleian Libraries gives us an insight into the different aspects of Armstrong’s life: as a campaigner and voice for disabled rights; a creator of typewriter art; and a poet. It also shows us a darker side to his beliefs. At age 16, he began editing and publishing his own poetry and literature magazine, The Informer. The first issue of his magazine contained an article written by a contributor, Brian Crittindon, containing a repeated number of racial slurs and seeming to argue for Jim Crow laws in the US and against immigration into the UK. As the editor-in-chief of The Informer, it is impossible to ignore Armstrong’s role in producing and distributing material containing hateful language. With the records available, it is difficult to know whether Armstrong held onto these views into adulthood, or if he would have looked back with regret later in life. Whilst his achievements as a disability rights activist are undeniable—his work led to improvements in train and tube access, and to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995—it does remind us of the fact that when examined from all sides, those we admire in history often held views that are incompatible with our own values. It’s therefore important to be able to understand and appreciate the work of those who came before us, whilst acknowledging the impact of their faults and facets which were harmful to others.

Written by Kasturi Pindar, Bodleian Libraries intern, Summer 2023.

UK Disability History Month – 16 November – 16 December (ukdhm.org)

Collection: Papers of Keith Armstrong, typewriter poet | Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts (ox.ac.uk)

The catalogue of the archive of C.F.C. Hawkes – available soon!

Christopher Hawkes (1905-1992) was an eminent archaeologist of European prehistory who made Oxford a centre for archaeological research and post-graduate teaching. This led to the foundation of the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford, of which Hawkes was the first director. His interest in learning about the past started when he was a child, when he visited monuments such as Hadrian’s Wall and Stonehenge, and continued through his time at New College, Oxford, where he took part in excavations at Brecon, Wroxeter and Winchester. After achieving a first-class degree, he worked at the British Museum in the department of British and Medieval Antiquities until he was appointed the new chair of European archaeology at Oxford in 1946. He stayed in Oxford with his second wife, archaeologist Sonia Hawkes, and continued to publish for many years after his retirement in 1972.

This collection comprises his personal and professional papers, including correspondence with colleagues and former students. His working notes show the wide scope of his work and include illustrations and drawings completed in his distinctive style.

 

Lt. Col. Charles Pascoe Hawkes (1877-1956) served in the Northumberland Fusiliers, 1900-1920, and was a barrister at the Inner Temple from 1902 until 1950. He was a political caricaturist, drawing for Granta, Cambridge University, and for the Daily Graphic. A keen traveller and an avid documenter of his adventures, his collection includes photograph albums titled ‘Kodakings in divers places’ and sketchbooks from his trips to Scotland, Europe and North Africa.

This collection will be available soon.

Catalogue of the archive of C.F.C. Hawkes

Tracing the impact of war through the correspondence of C.F.C. Hawkes

Guest post by Eleanor Newman, Summer intern in the Modern Archives & Manuscripts Department

As a Classical Archaeology DPhil student, I was thrilled to learn that my job as Archives Processing intern would be cataloguing the work files of Professor C.F.C. Hawkes (1905-1992), founder of the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford. A complex but brilliant scholar, his archives are made up of everything from scribbled notes to full publications, drawings to photographs, and even a real Roman potsherd discovered in Colchester. The files of Hawkes contain a fountain of knowledge on archaeology from Prehistoric Europe to Bronze Age Greece to Roman Britain and beyond, and provide a wonderful insight into the life and career of an established archaeologist.

The correspondence of C.F.C. Hawkes has been particularly interesting, revealing close friendships, bitter rivalries, and even full-blown archaeological scandals (on more than one occasion). What I have found particularly striking, however, are the consistent references to the unstable political climate of the early 20th century and the effects of war on the field of archaeology. A collection of letters from this time highlight the devastation caused by the Spanish Civil War and World War II and the impact on the careers of archaeologists who were, otherwise, just trying to go about their lives.

Hawkes, like many of his colleagues, was called up for duty during WWII. A letter from Hawkes to the Headmaster of Colchester Royal Grammar School (1944) [MS. 21042/162, Colchester] reveals that he had “war-time duties”, which involved working for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. M. R. Hull, curator at the Colchester and Essex Museum states in a letter addressed to Hawkes (1942) [MS. 21042/162, Colchester] that he was part of the Observer Corps, which was taking time away from his ability to do archaeological work. Of course, war time duties carried great responsibility and may have even been traumatic, but I had personally never considered the impact that it must have had on careers which people such as Hawkes and Hull had dedicated their lives to.

References to war and its ongoing impact have appeared in unexpected circumstances throughout this archive. Correspondence between Hawkes and two colleagues working in Ireland, Seán Ó Ríordáin and Gerhard Bersu, refers to a dispute between the latter two about the approach to archaeology in Ireland in the early 1950s [MS. 21042/156, Ireland]. Bersu claims that Irish archaeologists should follow the continental European approach, while Ríordáin stresses that, actually, the Irish approach is perfectly good. The drama and, in some places, comedy of this dispute is overshadowed by one devastating fact: Gerhard Bersu was working in Ireland at this time because, as a German of Jewish ancestry, he had been removed from his position as director of the Römisch‐Germanischen Kommission in 1935 and was forced to flee Germany, eventually taking refuge in Ireland. As a letter from 1950 reveals, it was still not safe for him to return to Germany even five years after the end of the war [MS. 21042/156, Ireland].

Bersu was not the only one of Hawkes’ colleagues displaced from their home as a result of conflict. In 1947, a letter to Hawkes details the emotional struggle of Pere Bosch-Gimpera, a Spanish archaeologist and the Minister of Justice of Catalonia in the government of Lluís Companys, following the Spanish Civil War [MS. 21042/156, Iberia 1]: “I read…with emotion that my ancient colleagues and pupils remember me and still think that I have done something for the archaeology of my country…I fought more than 20 years for having a real Archaeological Museum in Barcelona and to make an organisation of Archaeology in Catalonia, and when things began to become settled I had to fly away.” This story told by Bosch-Gimpera, who fled to Mexico following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, reflects the personal and professional devastation caused by conflict. Not only did he leave behind friends and colleagues, but he also was not able to witness the impact of his campaign for archaeology in Barcelona and broader Catalonia. A heart-breaking read, this letter shows one man’s touching dedication to archaeology through turmoil.

Finally, Hawkes’ correspondence reveals the severe physical impact of war on museums and collections of artefacts. Museums were no longer able to function as research facilities, as a letter from M.R. Hull to Hawkes in 1940 [MS. 21042/162, Colchester] suggests: “To what extent is the [British Museum] still functioning?” Instead, practical measures for the preservation of material took urgent priority over research and analysis. In a letter from 1947, Bosch-Gimpera details the earlier evacuation of artefacts from a museum in Spain to prevent their destruction by bombings [MS. 21042/156, Iberia 1].

Unfortunately, these preventative measures were not always successful. A devastating letter from A.J.E. Cave, Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, to Hawkes details the damage caused by the London blitz in 1941: “You will be sorry, I know, to learn that our Museum was practically totally destroyed by enemy action on May 10th-11th, and that a mere handful of specimens alone remains of our former incomparable collections. The devastation is truly terrible: I cannot even attempt to describe the extent of this national loss. The most famous historical specimens in British biological science are gone for ever and two centuries of labour and collecting are wiped out at one foul blow. We were burned to the foundations in some places and material placed underground for ‘safety’ has suffered with the rest. A nucleus remains, it is true, for a future Museum, but nothing can ever replace the priceless specimens in osteology, anatomy, pathology and physiology now utterly vanished.” The extent of this loss is inconceivable and its impact on research is surely ongoing even now.

The correspondence of C.F.C. Hawkes highlights the ongoing struggle of archaeologists through conflict in the 1940s. These heart-breaking stories are reflections of the, sometimes surprising, impacts of war on individuals and their work. They are also inspiring demonstrations of persistence and tenacity during difficult times, and echoes of the love that these men held for archaeology.

The catalogue of the archive of Averil Cameron –available soon!

Averil Cameron is a historian of late antiquity, classics and Byzantine studies. She was professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History at King’s College London and Warden of Keble College, Oxford, from 1994 to 2010.

She has been associated with various academic societies including as founding director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London. Since 2018 she has been President of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies.

She has published several works, including; Agathias (1970), History as Text (1989) and The Byzantines (2006). The archive comprises papers and correspondence mainly relating to Cameron’s academic work. This includes books, published and unpublished lectures, and articles.

This collection will be available soon.

Catalogue of the archive of Averil Cameron

Three books of Averil Cameron

The catalogue of the archive of the Butler family – available soon!

This archive comprises three generations of an Oxford academic family; Rohan Butler (1917-1996), his father Harold Butler (1883-1951), and grandfather Alfred J. Butler (1850-1936).

Rohan Butler was a historian and civil servant. He worked at both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Information during World War II. From 1963 to 1982 he was Historical Advisor to the secretary of state for foreign affairs. He authored two books, The Roots of National Socialism (1941) and his magnus opus Choiseul: Father and Son, 1719-1754 (1980). He was elected a prize fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1938 and continued to be involved with the college throughout out his life.

Rohan Butler’s papers include his personal papers, literary work, time at All Souls College and work as a civil servant. The subseries relating to Choiseul includes extensive notes on the French military officer and diplomat, and on European history of the time, used by Butler to complete the work. There are also several volumes of unpublished poetry, a draft play and papers relating to an unpublished book titled ‘Redeemers of Democracy’.

Harold Butler was a civil servant and author. He worked in various government departments, including the Ministry of Labour and the Home Office. At the outbreak of World War II, he was appointed southern regional commissioner for civil defence. In 1942 he was appointed head of the British Information Service at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, where he remained until his retirement in 1946. His papers relate mainly to his civil service work, including his time in Washington which brought him into correspondence with Churchill, Eden, Ismay and Roosevelt. There are three diaries, covering 1917-1919 and 1940-1941, in which he talks about the war progress and the home situation. Olive Butler was a frequent correspondent to her son, Rohan, and her correspondence gives an insight into a diplomat’s life in Washington during World War II.

Alfred J. Butler was a historian specialising in Coptology. He was the author of several works including; The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, Vol 1 and 2 (1884), The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty Years of the Roman Dominion (1902) and Sport in Classic Times (1930). His papers relate to his work on ancient Coptic Churches and includes a draft manuscript for an unpublished work titled ‘Greater or Lesser Britain’.

This collection will be available soon.

Catalogue of the archive of the Butler family

The catalogue of the archive of Dr Emilie Savage-Smith – available soon!

Dr Emilie Savage-Smith is a historian of science specialising in Islamic celestial globes. Islamic celestial globes are spherical maps of the sky that give the viewer a ‘God’s’ eye view of the stars and constellations, with Earth at the centre, originating from lands where Islam was the predominant religion.

Celestial globe

Savage-Smith graduated from DePauw University in 1962 and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1969. She was professor of the History of Islamic Science in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford from 2006 to 2019, and a fellow and archivist of St Cross College, Oxford, 2004-2021.

She has authored several books, including Islamicate Celestial Globes: Their History, Construction and Use, 1985. She was named a fellow of the British Academy, 2010, and the Medieval Academy of America, 2020.

Celestial globe

This collection is the largest research archive of material on Islamic celestial globes in the world, with over two-hundred globes and instruments dating back to 1080 featured. It comprises her papers, photographs and drawings collected over the course of her career. Her collection of objects was donated to the History of Science Museum.

This collection will be available soon.

Catalogue of the archive of Dr Emilie Savage-Smith

Science in the Islamic World | History of Science Museum

 

Preserved in Time: A Snapshot of Moss Side in the Archive of Daniel Meadows

Moss Side, Manchester, spring of 1972. On a sunny day, a group of children gather round an old barber’s shop, set into a row of single-storey Victorian buildings. They jostle for space as they peer at photographs on display in the window. The eldest among them holds up a toddler on their hip—perhaps a sibling, relation, or friend—to better see the photographs. To their left, outside the shop next door, stands a rack of second-hand clothes for sale. To the right is Jimmy Thomson’s Tattoo Parlour. Three teenage girls stand outside the tattoo shop, watching the flurry of activity. [1]

Moss Side covers just 1.84 square kilometres of Manchester, pushing up against Hulme to the north and Whalley Range to the south. [2]. In the 1950s, this neighbourhood became home to a small but growing Caribbean population, early arrivals of what is now known as the Windrush Generation. In the 1950s and 60s, many Caribbean people chose to move to Manchester where they knew others, family or friends, or if they had been stationed in nearby Lancashire during the war. Settling in and around Moss Side, a Caribbean community soon laid down roots in the neighbourhood. [3]. In the 1950s, Caribbean people made up the second-largest ethnic group in Manchester after white British people and by 1981 there were over 6,000 people from the Caribbean living in the city. These people came predominantly from Jamaica, but there were other from countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and what was then known as the West Indies Associated States. [4].

Moss Side has long been stigmatised as an ‘inner-city problem area.’ [5]. In 1981, protests against racist and aggressive policing tactics in Moss Side turned into violent clashes lasting two nights, further consolidating the view of the neighbourhood as a site of violence and crime. This followed similar events in Brixton, Toxteth and Handsworth, caused by high unemployment, poor housing provision, a lack of investment, and racial tensions. [6]. However, photographs of Moss Side held in the Bodleian Libraries Special Collections show a very different story. Taken almost a decade before the disturbances of 1981, but twenty years after the first arrivals from the Caribbean, they are a window into the daily life of this deprived, but neighbourly area.

The shop described above, around which the children gathered to peek at photographs in the window, was the Free Photographic Shop, which had been set up by a photography student at Manchester Polytechnic called Daniel Meadows. Hailing from rural Gloucestershire, Meadows came to Manchester in 1970 and lived in Moss Side. In January 1972 he rented a barbershop at 79b Greame Street, converting it into a photographic studio in which local people could have their picture taken free of charge. Once developed, Meadows’ subjects received a copy of their photograph to keep. [7]. The studio was open for two months during which time Meadows photographed over 200 people, despite the shop being open only one day per week. [8].

The Free Photographic Shop at 79b Greame Street, MS. Meadows 46

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Uncovering Histories of Humanitarianism: the Aborigines’ Protection Society 1837-1866

By Zoë Laidlaw, University of Melbourne.

This is the fifth in a series of posts by researchers drawing on the archive of the Anti-Slavery Society, part of the Bodleian’s We Are Our History project.

The Aborigines’ Protection Society (APS) and the Anti-Slavery Society merged in 1909, formalising a history of engagement and occasional rivalry stretching back to the 1830s. The APS had long argued that concern for the welfare of Indigenous peoples in Britain’s empire was a logical extension of anti-slavery activism. But, while key personnel moved between the two societies, public support for the APS remained much more muted. Not least, this was because the APS struggled to explain its remit. In 1847, a decade after starting work, the APS acknowledged that many still asked ‘Who are the Aborigines, and who is their Friend?’ but struggled to address these basic questions:

“Government documents and other publications have given a currency and acceptation to the word Aborigines, which, however, is not so general as to render explanation unnecessary … When the overflowing or restless population of a civilized country quit their homes, and seek a country where a wider space is open before them, they often find the land imperfectly occupied by a race of men greatly differing from themselves. These are the so-called Aborigines of the country; and the interests of both races are involved in the character of the intercourse which ensues between them.”

As this comparative and pejorative definition of ‘Aborigines’ suggests, the APS was both Eurocentric and paternalistic. Its leaders recognised that British colonialism led to Indigenous peoples’ dispossession and exploitation, but they argued for the radical reform of colonialism rather than its eradication. In the utopian future they envisaged, colonisers and colonised alike would be more civilised, Indigenous rights recognised and protected and Britain’s empire more economically productive.

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Notice to readers: Admissions office closure

Exclamation mark graphicDue to staff illness, the  Bodleian Library’s Admissions Office, based in the Weston Library, will remain closed today, 15 August, but will reopen from Wednesday 16 August (with a brief closure from 12:00-13:00 on Friday 18 August).

We offer sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

New catalogue: the Archive of Joanna Trollope

Photograph of Joanna Trollope.

Joanna Trollope. Reproduced with kind permission of www.barkerevans.com

The archive of the novelist and Oxford alumna Joanna Trollope, generously donated to the Bodleian by Joanna herself between 2014 and 2021, has now been catalogued and is available to view at the Weston Library.

A prolific author of numerous best-sellers, Joanna first started out writing historical fiction in the 1970s whilst working as an English teacher. By 1980 – the year her novel Parson Harding’s Daughter was awarded the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she had become a full-time author. Her only non-fiction title, Britannia’s Daughters, was published in 1983.

During the 1980s, Joanna’s writing evolved to contemporary fiction and The Rector’s Wife (1991) was her first number one bestseller. Her works have been translated into over twenty different languages as well as being adapted for audiobook, television, radio, and theatre. In 2010, Joanna was awarded the Romantic Novelists’ Association Lifetime Achievement Award. She was made an OBE in 1996 for services to charity and a CBE in 2019 for services to literature.

Manuscript draft of Parson Harding’s Daughter (1979), Oxford, Bodleian Libraries,                 MS. 9515/29. Reproduced with kind permission of Joanna Trollope.

The undoubted highlights of the collection are the neatly-tied handwritten manuscript drafts of Joanna’s novels, ranging from her earliest work Eliza Stanhope (first published in 1978) right up to An Unsuitable Match (published in 2018). The collection also includes several notebooks demonstrating Joanna’s careful background research into the topics and places featured in her work, covering anything from football matches to inheritance tax. They bely the preconception that her characters are consigned to cosy, country lives but instead deal with some of the tougher elements of life – bereavement, adoption, sexuality, and self-harm. They also show how much Joanna’s work mirrors life in the 1990s and 2000s and in years to come the collection will be of much interest to any one researching (to paraphrase Joanna’s family’s famous Victorian author ) ‘the way we lived then’.

-Rachael Marsay